Thursday, July 16, 2015



Objects of Desire

Objects of Desire

When Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection was released, all eyes were on the designer’s ‘Armadillo’ boots — the towering, 30cm-high shoes that transformed their wearer into a sort of sci-fi ballerina.

Though only 21 pairs were made, the shoes quickly appeared across the pages of fashion magazines, and were quickly adopted as pop star Lady Gaga’s footwear of choice. Handmade in Italy, each pair took five days to make, and involved a team of 30.

On the occasion of Alexander McQueen’s major London retrospective, three pairs of the designer’s rare Armadillo Boots have been authentically reproduced for the first time since 2010, with 100 per cent of the net amount from the auction sale being donated to earthquake relief efforts in Nepal.   
A Pair of Python Armadillo Boots. Alexander Mcqueen, 2015. Estimate: $10,000-15,000

Capturing rock historyFirst Open: Online only, 16-28 July

Russell Young and Henry Diltz, Jim Morrison, Hollywood Bowl, 1968. Silkscreen ink on canvas. Estimate: $6,000-8,000

This silkscreen painting depicts The Doors singer Jim Morrison midway through the band’s seminal 1968 performance at L.A.’s Hollywood Bowl — the outdoor arena that sits beneath the famous Hollywood sign

Described as The Doors’ ‘dream concert’, a recorded version of the performance was released in 1968 — the band having formed just three years before, when Morrison was living on a friend’s rooftop. In 2012, the album was rereleased, attesting to the group’s enduring popularity.

Here, the smiling Morrison is captured by Russell Young and Henry Diltz, together responsible for some of the most famous portraits in rock history.

The whole hogFirst Open: Online only, 16-28 July

David Gilhooly (1943-2013), Warthog, circa 1960s. Glazed ceramic. Estimate: $3,000-5,000

Those searching for a more unusual addition to their art collection might consider this glazed ceramic Warthog, from American ceramicist and printmaker David Gilhooly. 

The work is one of number of Gilhooly’s animal ceramics, which range from anteaters to zebras, with a particularly extensive series centered on frogs in fast food. ‘Frogs are more fun than people,’ he commented in 1992, ‘You can’t glaze people in colours’.

Though Gilhooly first signed up to a ceramics class to impress a female student, he went on to become a founding member of the Northern Californian Ceramic Funk Movement, joining artists including Robert Arnerson to produce works that celebrated the sensuous quirk of jazz.

Remarkably ordinaryModern British and Irish Art: London, 15 July 2015

Eliot Hodgkin (1905-1987), White Still-Life No.2, 1965. Oil on canvas-board. Estimate £4,000-6,000

‘I like to show the beauty of things no one looks at twice,’ wrote painter Eliot Hodgkin.
Working predominantly in egg tempera — a mix of paint, water, and egg yolk — the artist pursued what he believed to be his ‘conscious purpose’, producing luminous depictions of ‘such things as Brussels sprouts, turnips, onions, pebbles and flints, bulbs, dead leaves, bleached vertebrae, an old boot cast up by the tide”

Painted in 1965, White Still Life No.2 was originally owned by Peter Ward-Jackson, an authority on prints, drawings and furniture at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, who worked for MI6 during the Second World War. 

Fittingly for a former member of the Secret Service, it is a work that encourages viewers to take a second look at the everyday, reconsidering what at first seems unremarkable.

A love iconFirst Impression: New York, 14-15 July 2015

Robert Indiana, Italian Love, circa 1995. Chrome-dyed, hand-carved tufted archival New Zealand wool on stretched canvas with natural latex backing. Estimate: $4,000-6,000

Robert Indiana produced the first of his famous LOVE series in 1964, when he was commissioned to design a Christmas card for The Museum of Modern Art.

Instantly popular, the work went on to grace a US postage stamp, with the first LOVE sculpture made in 1970. Today, it is among Pop Art’s most iconic images, with versions across the world in Hebrew, Chinese, Italian and Spanish, as well as the original English.

Adopted as an emblem of 1960s idealism, Indiana’s LOVE is full of acquired and intended erotic, religious, autobiographical and political meaning. For the artist, LOVE evoked the Christian Science church he attended as a child, where the only decoration was the wall inscription God is Love

The original colours paid homage to his father, who worked at a Phillips 66 gas station during the Depression; Indiana described ‘the red and green of that sign against the blue Hoosier sky.’

What would Grace Kelly wear?Luxury Handbags: 14-23 July, Online Only

A 32cm Matte Rouge H Porosus Crocodile Retourne Kelly Bag. Hermès, 2010. Starting Bid: $48,000

‘The Hermès Kelly bag is arguably the most iconic Hermès model in existence,’ comments Christie’s handbag specialist Caitlin Donovan.
‘As stylish as its namesake, Princess Grace Kelly, the Kelly has a long history laced with myriad famous admirers. 

This iteration in Rouge H Crocodile Retourne leather balances Hermès’ mastery of colour and exotic materials with the brand’s genius for elevating classic styles into modern works of art’.

It’s simply not cricketInteriors: 21 July, London

A Victorian croquet set on stand, circa 1870. Comprising ten wood mallets set into a mahogany stand with turned legs and applied brass makers plaque. Estimate: £1,000-1,500

‘With summer in the air, what better way to relax than a game of croquet in the sunshine?’ says Christie’s specialist Anna Evans. ‘This Victorian example was made by Cordeaux and Ernest’s, who started selling croquet equipment from their wood-turning business in 1863.’

Though its origins are disputed, this oldest record of this quintessentially British game dates from 1856, when London’s Isaac Spratt officially registered a set of rules; by 1900, it was in the Summer Olympics.

Whilst croquet has now become the preserve slightly tipsy summer picnickers, an international league plays with serious sobriety. 

Predictably, current world rankings show England in top place for association croquet, followed by Australia and New Zealand, with the United States in fourth position. In the golf croquet league, Egypt has taken an unlikely, yet strong lead.

A morbid pay cheque to Joan of Arc’s hangmanValuable Books and Manuscripts including Cartography: 15 July 2015, London

Document signed by Guillaume Leprevost, deputy of the bailli of Caux, Neufchâtel, 20 May 1415, addressed to the Vicomte de Gournay. Estimate £4,000-6,000

This morbid invoice demands that Geoffroy Thérage, the future executioner of Joan of Arc, be paid 72 sols and six deniers for dragging and hanging on Colin Rastel ‘pour ses demerites’ — a non-specific crime roughly translated as ‘for his sins’.

Thérage had been the go-to executioner for the sleepy French town of Rouen for over 25 years, when he was charged with the burning of Joan of Arc, casting her remains into the waters of the Seine once the gruesome deed was done. 

Despite his experience in the industry, he is reported to have had some difficulty in tying her to the pillar where she was to be burned, on account of its unusual height.

Witnesses at the saint’s posthumous rehabilitation testified to Thérage’s sense of remorse at the manner of Joan’s death, and reported that he was particularly struck at the fact that her heart initially remained intact despite the flames. 

Thérage’s name is known from eight receipts preserved in the French national library, including one of 25 March 1432 for executing 104 French soldiers who had attempted to capture the castle of Rouen — a feat for which he earned 111 livres and 13 sols.

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